It’s Your Fault

by Brandon

As most of you know, I normally avoid politics.

That said, I’m about to make an exception. This is something I try to talk about at least once during every election season.

And before I get started, I want to absolutely clear here… I’m not talking to democrats or republicans or independents or any specific political party.

I’m talking to Americans.

In my very humble opinion, every election boils down to one thing:

Accountability.

But the thing is, I’m not talking about the accountability of politicians. I’m talking about the accountability of the American people.

You see, if Americans are good at anything, we’re good at demanding the accountability of others while hiding from our own accountability.

And yes, I’m about to get preachy about voting. 

We Americans are so good at avoiding our own accountability that I’m sure some readers will leave this blog as soon as they see it’s just another blog about voting. Well, I’m not talking to those people. I’m talking to those of you who, at the very least, care enough to hear me out.

I’ll get right to it…

Every reason we give for not voting is just a rationalization that allows us to hide from our own accountability.

“My vote doesn’t count.”

“They all work for the same people anyway.”

“It’s all fixed.”

“I don’t vote because I don’t support any of the candidates.”

Blah blah blah blah blah and, most importantly, blah.

Simply put, there is no excuse for not voting that isn’t 100% pure, old-fashioned horseshit.

All the candidates suck? Well, guess what? That’s your fault for not voting them out of office.

They all work for the same people? Again… your fault for not using your vote to show them that they work for you. 

It’s all fixed? Yep. It’s fixed because you let it happen.

Your vote doesn’t count? How the hell do you know if you don’t vote?

Do you think social security is a good thing? Do you think it’s a bad thing? The harsh truth is, if you don’t vote, it doesn’t matter what you think. It exists in this country because older Americans vote, so politicians are simply afraid to get rid of it. For better or for worse, those people get to keep social security because the politicians know they vote.

If enough supporters of weed vote, weed will eventually be legal. If its opponents vote, it will remain illegal.

You think every American deserves affordable healthcare? You can make that happen.

Hate Obamacare? Either vote to get rid of it, vote to fix it, or learn to live with it.

Want free college? Voting is the only way that can happen. Or maybe you hate the idea of free college. Well, voting is the only way to stop it.

Truth is, every complaint you have about this country exists because you (and the people who agree with you) don’t vote.

And every complaint against voting is nothing more than an excuse to not vote.

Of course, it’s very unlikely that anything I say here will matter. Most likely, you either agree or you don’t, and I’m not going to change your mind.

So if I know this blog probably won’t help, why am I taking the time to write and post it? Why am I bothering?

For the same reason I vote…

Because, whether I’m effective or not…

I refuse to be part of the problem.

Maybe you’re right. Maybe voting doesn’t matter.

But I can tell you this with absolute certainty… If voting doesn’t matter, it’s because Americans don’t vote. The problem isn’t that I vote. The problem is that millions of people don’t.

So I’ll say it again…

I refuse to be part of the problem.

So when I see something about our government that I hate, I can at the very least say, “Well, at least I tried. I lost, but I went down fighting.”

As most of you know, I’ve been fighting cancer for two years. And maybe my fight is a losing battle. Maybe the cancer will eventually take me down.

I don’t believe that, but if it’s true, I have to ask myself some important questions:

How do I want to be remembered? What do I want my legacy to be?

Do I want to be remembered as a guy who just gave up and let the cancer win?

No.

Hell no.

I want to be remembered as the guy who went down fighting. I want to be the guy who said, “I will not go gentle into that good night!” (and no, that’s not a reference to Independence Day, although that was a great scene). I want to be the Viking who faced Ragnarok with courage and fought alongside Odin and Thor to the very end. I want to be the rebel fighter who flew his X-wing right into the Death Star’s trench without a moment’s hesitation. I want to be Captain James T. Kirk, who refused to accept the no-win scenario.

And when it comes to American politics, I’m still that guy. I refuse to accept that this country that I love is broken beyond repair. I refuse to abandon ship with the other rats. If America’s going down, I’m going down with it.

And the only way I can do that is by voting.

I don’t care how many people tell me that voting doesn’t matter, I will never just give up on this country that has given me so much.

When it comes to voting, I’m still that high school kid who was inspired by Dylan Thomas. I’m still that viking, facing Ragnarok with courage. I’m still that X-wing pilot, swooping into the Death Star trench. I’m still James Kirk, refusing to accept the Kobayashi Maru.

So go ahead… you can refuse to vote if you want. Make the excuses. Sit on your ass instead of fighting for this country.

But don’t sit there and pretend you’re not part of the problem, because you are.

So what are you going to do? Are you going to sit there and whine while this great country goes to shit, or are you going to get off your ass and do the one and only thing you can do to at least try to save it?

I constantly see people complain that the youth of this country just sits around with a sense of entitlement. Well, where the hell do you think they learn it?

I don’t care what political party you support. I don’t care who you vote for.

Just vote. Democracy only works if you vote.

Even if you think it’s a lost cause, show the world that it’s not about winning or losing… Show them that it’s about standing up for what you believe in. Show the world that courage isn’t about the victory… it’s about the fight.

Or don’t.

I mean, I can’t make you.

But if you don’t, please do the rest of us a favor and stop bitching about it.

–Bran

p.s. For my fellow Virginians… This blog was obviously about voting in general elections, but if you want to participate in this year’s primary election on “Super Tuesday”, Virginia (unlike many states) is an “open primary.” This means you don’t have to be a registered party member to vote in the primary.

If you vote in the democratic primary, you’d be voting between Hillary or Bernie… or, if you instead decide to vote in the republican primary (you can’t vote in both), you can choose between Trump, Rubio, Cruz, Kasich, or Carson. Rand Paul is also still on the republican side of the VA ticket, if you like him.

You can do it this Tuesday (March 1). Just go to the same place you go to for a general election. All you have to do is tell them which party you want to vote for, then you can vote, just like it’s a general election. And don’t worry, voting in the primary doesn’t obligate you to vote either way in the general election. You’ll still be able to vote for either side. The primary just picks who’ll be running for each side.

 

 

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